Richardson, Craig (2014) Broken North. In: Further North Conference, 4th - 5th September 2014, University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne. (Unpublished)

This paper is concerned with wilderness and desolation. It asks ‘How does Northern ‘emptiness’ function as a resource in the arts?’ It considers the formative context of key works by post-war artists, writers and film-makers, in particular the journeys which led to Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Joseph Beuys’ Loch Awe Piece , and Thomas Struth’s Edinburgh photographs from the series Unconscious Places; each informed by their author’s perceptions of the North as naturally barren, socially deprived or simply uninhabited. The suggestion is that the journey to an empty northern landscape always offers the opportunity of a further North. However the North is a place of personal pilgrimage and arrival which has no ‘beyond’, a place one need not go beyond. While a special function of the North is as a space of art and as a resource in the arts, offering silence and withdrawal, its continued representation by visitors prolongs and strengthens this idea. However what emerges can be collectively represented in many ways, including as a ‘Broken North’.

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